(fwd from Rakesh) reply to DMS on Post
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Sat Sep 6 09:56:17 MDT 2003
I don't think continuing the discussion depends on my agreement with either
the categories, the priorities of issues, or the analyses you propose.
If because I disgree with your formulation of the order of battle, you
choose to not go any further, I will certainly understand why.
So here's a counter-proposal. We stick to the content of Post's article in
the J of A C, and dispense with all references to Brenner, Wood, Inikori
(whom Post does cite as a reference in his bibliography.
PS, come to NYC and I'll get you into the Rhythm Revue gratis, after that
you're on your own.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Les Schaffer" <schaffer at optonline.net>
To: "marxmail" <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2003 10:35 PM
Subject: (fwd from Rakesh) reply to DMS on Post
> dms, I shall provide my replies if we can agree that these are the
> most important outstanding issues.
> 1. whether plantation slavery was itself capitalist
> 2. causes of the American Civil War
> 3. whether industrial capitalism continued to depend on naked slavery
> First dispute. Since you and Post see capitalist enterpise as
> necessarily marked by the compulsive capitalization of surplus value
> such that the value composition of capital tends to increase and
> since you seem to think that such can only obtain on the basis of
> free wage labor or labor as only a variable cost in the parlance of
> managerial economics, you argue that plantation slavery was not
> capitalist. You also tend to downplay what used to be called the
> importance of the articulation between US Southern slavery and
> American capitalism proper (Inikori, Bailey, Blackburn and others
> are focused on the articulation, not the capitalist character of
> plantation slavery itself as I am).
> Second. You agree with Post that since Midwestern family style farms
> provided a more dynamic market for industrial goods, Northern
> industrialists joined the fight for free soil, free labor agains the
> encroachment of Southern plantations which were stagnant as sources
> of demand and increasingly unimportant with the emergence of Egypt
> and Turkey as sources of supply and goods. In short, the Civil War
> was from the perspective of the North the fight to increase market
> demand--a rather economistic interpretation, I must say! (At this
> point, I have to ask: if the South was so stagnant and undesired a
> market and becoming a marginal and ever less profitable supplier of
> cotton, why didn't the North simply allow the Confederacy to secede
> on the condition that its military only carry out annexations to the
> ever deeper south--Cuba, Puerto Rico, Yucatan, Nicaragua, etc; after
> all, if the plantations were going broke as a result of slavery's
> structural disincentives to technical progress, then the Confederacy
> should have been let go and expected to be too weak to pose a
> formidable military threat to Yankee capitalism in its westward
> Third, you argue that American industrial capital did not continue to
> depend on naked slavery within or without the US after the Civil
> War. You suggest that indentured labor (along with the other kinds
> outlined by Alec Gordon) cannot be counted as a form of naked slavery
> (though Hugh Tinker in his study by this called called so-called
> indentured labor "a new form of slavery"); nor do you count as
> defacto slavery the labor of prisoners in the US or mineworkers in
> South Africa at the turn of the last century.
> Yours, Rakesh
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